Properly securing your wheelchair during transport is essential to your safety. Whether you want to drive a vehicle while in your wheelchair or transport it in the backseat, you need to secure it properly to avoid accidents. Failure to do this increases the risk of severe injuries during a crash. The wheelchair can also come off the dock when braking and hurt the vehicle's occupants.
Avoid injuries and accidents by safely securing your wheelchair for transit. Here are some tips on how to make this happen.
Get a Transport Safe Wheelchair
Not all wheelchairs can be transported or used in a vehicle. Thus, the first safety measure is to ensure that yours is "transport safe" or has been crash-tested. This is a kind of wheelchair that meets international standards and can withstand a crash without getting damaged. In the event of an accident, the wheelchair can resist damage and protect the user from getting injured.
Don't use a wheelchair in your vehicle if it's not crash-tested or transport safe. Instead, secure it in the boot of the car and only use it outside the car. Note that this would require you to get help. You need someone to help you tie down the wheelchair and safely enter and exit the car.
Invest in Quality Securement Systems
There are two types of securement options for wheelchairs: manual tie-downs and docking systems. Manual tie-downs are simply restraints that secure the wheelchair to your car. You can use them when transporting the chair in the back. They comprise of four belts that attach the wheelchair to the vehicle. When choosing manual restraints, go for high-quality tie-downs that can stay in place even during impact.
Wheelchair docking systems are comprised of a docking base attached to the vehicle's floor and an interface bracket hooked to the wheelchair. The bracket locks the wheelchair into the docking base and secures it. Unlike the tie-downs, these can be used when transporting the wheelchair or using it in the vehicle. Use crash-tested docking systems to ensure safety and to prevent the wheelchair from flying off the dock during an accident.
Install Occupant Restraints
The securement systems used to secure your wheelchair won't do much to protect you from being thrown forward during a motor vehicle emergency. Thus, you need occupant restraints to keep you in the chair and prevent fatal injuries. Invest in a seat belt that runs over the lap and shoulder.
You can find various seat belt models on the market today. Ensure that the one you choose complies with regulations on occupant restraints. Also, follow the installation instructions, and preferably, leave the task to an expert.
Mobility impairment shouldn't hinder you from moving around or driving your vehicle. Follow these tips to ensure safety when driving in your wheelchair or transporting it from one place to another.
For more information on wheelchair restraints, contact a supplier near you.